To say that the tech industry is hostile toward women would be an understatement. We often hear crazy stories coming out of Silicon Valley like sex dungeons in the office, sex parties during working hours, and company lunches in strip clubs. How people can work under those circumstances is another question entirely, but it stands to reason that women just don’t know what they are going to be walking into in these situations. And we all know that company lunches are a great opportunity to bond with your boss, which could set you up for future promotions and projects. Women lose out at every turn in an environment like this, but they were already knocked off the path as early as elementary school in some cases.
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According to the Girl Scout Research Institute 81% of 11 year old girls are interested in pursuing a STEM related career, but by the age of 15 they have already lost interest. There is a lack of role models and mentors, not enough hands-on experience in STEM subjects, and an intimidating lack of gender equality in the STEM career fields of their choice.
Women make up more than half of the workforce but hold only about a fifth of the careers in technology. What’s more, the average wage for tech jobs is over $100k a year, while the average wage across all fields is right around $50k.
There are some companies making strides to level the playing field for women in the technology industry. SalesForce took it upon themselves to do an internal audit that found pay disparities based on gender and remedied that situation by laying out an additional $3 million in payroll for its 17,000 employees. Intuit invests time and money into recruiting, training, and retaining top female talent by encouraging mentoring and leadership development and establishing flexible work policies and career support.
For every Sheryl Sandberg there are thousands of women who just want to be given a chance to succeed on their own merits instead of having to choose between falling behind and a company lunch at the strip club. There are thousands of girls who want to hear that they can instead of they shouldn’t because it’s not “ladylike.”
There is still much progress to be made in the tech fields for women in America and all over the world. Learn more about women in tech from this infographic.